The Local Government Reform Act 2014 requires each Local Authority to prepare and implement a Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) as a means to advancing the overarching actions for reform set out in the Action Programme for Effective Local Government – Putting People First (2012).
Responding to this, PURE CORK - An Action Plan for the City is a unified local economic and community plan that seeks to embrace the objectives and work of local, business, community and public service providers in the city. The plan was developed over a two-year period with business, community & voluntary organisations, public agencies and social partners. The result is an ambitious but focused six year plan with 15 High Level Goals (HLG’s) driven by Strategic Objectives to be realised through a series of Local Actions. This plan has been prepared in accordance with Section 66A to 66H of the Local Government Reform Act 2014, with Section 66G setting out a requirement for the City Councils annual report to assess its implementation and any subsequent reviews.
The first section, A Local Economic and Community Plan (LECP) for Cork City, details how the plan seeks to build on the structures, work and achievements of Cork 2012 – Imagine Our Future (Cork City Council, 2001). It also sets out the plan making process including significant consultation and inputs from a number of key groups now tasked with co-ordinating and delivering the HLG’s, Objectives and Actions. This inter agency collaboration and synergy supports both the wide range of existing stakeholder strategies and action plans already at work in the city (refer to Fig.4 below) and new actions and initiatives required to achieve a higher quality of life within the city.
A Vision for Cork City, the second section of the plan, outlines the Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities and Threats (SCOT) in planning for community and economic development in the city, as identified in the Socio-Economic Statement that initiated this plan. The 15 HLG’s are derived from the plans vision statement and SCOT analysis and reflect the reality of what makes for a good quality of life for Cork City and its citizens:
The third section, A Profile of the City, analyses the city under each of the 15 High Level Goals. Findings from two key reports provide the evidence base and a comprehensive review of current international, national and local policy provides the policy context. The combination of these findings allows for a well grounded understanding of how the city can implement the best actions, most efficiently and effectively, at local level.
The Action Plan for Cork City sets out the 96 Strategic Objectives and 230 Local Actions that form the plan. These objectives and actions reflect core elements of life in Cork City, with many people from a variety of different groups and stakeholders involved in their making. The challenges of the current Housing market are reflected in the need for holistic, long term and practical local actions, such as the Residential Delivery Strategy for the city. Opportunities to build on the WHO’s designation of Cork as a Healthy City are built into local actions to improve the health and well-being of all of the city’s people and reducing health inequalities. The city’s strong history of Community Participation is enhanced through new initiatives such as the Public Participation Network (PPN). Actions to further develop Cork City’s commitment to lifelong Education & Learning include the expansion of the learning neighbourhood’s initiative and existing learning models into other areas. While primarily driven by the objectives of Cork City Development Plan 2015-2021, delivering a high Quality of Place is further enhanced through support for more localised actions such as the Cork City Centre Action Plan (2015). Actions to ensure the delivery of a Safe and Green City include the implementation of the Joint Policing Committee Strategy (2016) and the active pursuit of Green City status by 2021.
Delivering Competiveness through Strategic Governance includes supporting synergies between Cork City and other cities that strengthen collective opportunities for sustainable growth and the review and preparation of a successor to the Cork Area Strategic Plan (CASP) by 2020. Actions to drive Economic Diversity in the city include the CORE (city centre) programme to collaborate and implement local initiatives that stimulate the city centre as centre for employment and retail activity. Cork City Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is central to delivering actions that drive Innovation and entrepreneurship. The development of Cork SMART Gateway is also delivering a series of new local smart technology initiatives within the city. The continued support of the Northside for Business initiative and active participation in the Regional Skills Forum Actions are two of the actions to develop Skills and Human Capital in the city. Delivering improved Transportation and Communication infrastructure at regional and local level includes supporting key infrastructure projects and promoting ICT opportunities such as reduced cost international data transfer.
Actions to support and strengthen the local Social Economy include the delivery of a multi-stakeholder citywide strategy and investigating the expansion of local successful social economy models. Responding to the needs of Children and Young People in the city includes strengthening the interagency approach of the Children and Young Person’s Services Committee (CYPSC) and promoting the further development of the JIGSAW programme in the city. The delivery of actions set out in the Cork Age Friendly City Strategy 2016 – 2020 is central to developing an integrated response to the needs of Older People living in the city. Social Inclusion and Equality actions include the promotion of inter-agency groups and the continued implementation of the RAPID programme to target the most disadvantaged communities in the city.
Given the wide variety of actions within the plan, the implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review will be critical in determining its success. Implementation will tracked through a three staged approached, with objectives and actions fully reviewed every two years. Each objective and action will be reviewed to monitor progress, assess relevance and establish the need for additions and amendments. This will allow for a more realistic and flexible plan that remains current to the economic and community needs of Cork City over the next six years.
 The Cork City Profile (2014) and The Cork City LECP – Baseline Report (2016)